Welcome to 2030. Welcome to my city, or should I say “our city”. I do not own anything. I do not have a car. I do not have a house. I do not own any equipment or clothing. Welcome to 2030, a world where nothing belongs to us.
It may sound strange to you, but it makes perfect sense to us in this city. Everything you thought of as a product has now become a service. We have access to transportation, shelter, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one, all of these things are done for free, so we no longer have much interest in owning too much.
Communication has been digitized and made free for everyone. When clean energy became cheap, the transition accelerated. Transportation prices have dropped dramatically. It no longer made sense for us to have cars because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying machine for long trips in minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transportation became easier, faster and more convenient than cars. Today I find it hard to believe that we accepted traffic jams, not to mention air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?
Occasionally, I use my bike when I go to see friends. I like training and walking. It is funny how some things seem to never lose their appeal: walking, cycling, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes perfect sense and reminds us that our culture was born out of a close relationship with nature.
In our city, we do not pay rent because someone else uses our free space when we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I’m not there.
Occasionally he decides to cook good food himself. It’s easy: the necessary kitchen appliances are sent to my doorstep in minutes. Since shipping was free, we stopped loading. Why keep a pasta maker and a fruit and vegetable juicer in our cupboards? We can only order them when we need them.
It has also facilitated the progress of the circular economy. When products are turned into services, no one cares about things that have a short lifespan. Welcome to a world where everything is created to be sustainable, repairable and recyclable. Materials flow faster through our economy and can be turned into new products quite easily. Environmental issues seem distant, as we use only clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and no one would dare to touch nature protected areas because they constitute such a value for our well-being. In cities we have lots of green spaces, plants and trees everywhere. I still do not understand why in the past we filled all the open spaces of the city with concrete.
Market? I do not really remember what it is. For most of us, this turned out to be the choice of items to use. Sometimes it seems ridiculous to me, and sometimes I want the algorithm to do it for me. He knows my tastes better than I do now.
When it and the robots took over a lot of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well and spend time with other people. The concept of the peak hour no longer makes sense, as the work we do can be done at any time. I do not know if I would still call it work. Rather, it is the time for reflection, the time for creation, and the time for development.
For a while everything turned into fun and people did not want to bother with difficult questions. It was not until the last moment that we figured out how to use all this new technology for better purposes than to kill time.
My biggest concern is to all the people who do not live in our city. Those we lost along the way. Those who have not supported all this technology. Those who felt outdated and useless when robots and AI took over so much of our work. Those who became angry with the political system and turned against it. They lead different lives outside the city. Some have formed small self-sufficient communities. The others remained in the empty and abandoned houses of the small villages of the 19sth century.
Occasionally I get distracted by the fact that I do not have a real private life. I can not go anywhere without registering. I know that somewhere I record everything I do, think and dream. I hope no one uses it against me.
Overall, it’s a good life. Much better than before. It was clear that we could not continue with the same growth pattern. We have experienced all these terrible things: lifestyle diseases, climate change, refugee crisis, environmental degradation, flooded cities, water pollution, air pollution, social unrest and unemployment. We lost a lot of people before we realized we could do things differently.
This blog was written before the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils.
The author, Ida Auken, is a young global leader and member of the Global Council for the Future of Cities and Urbanization of the World Economic Forum.
Article translated by Forbes US – Author: Ida Auken
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